Emotions ran high on Tuesday night at the service of songs for the late human rights activist, lawyer and politician Dr. Tunji Braithwaite as Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode named the Dolphin Park after him amidst an avalanche of encomiums.
This was in recognition of his various contributions to the political developments in the country, his struggle for the emancipation of the citizens, and his daily agitation for improved living condition for Nigerians.
Dr. Braithwaite, social crusader and founder of the National Advance Party (NAP) during the 2nd Republic, died on Monday, March 28 this year at St. Nicholas Hospital, Lagos at the age of 82.
Governor Ambode said the state government’s plan to immortalise the late legal luminary and a major actor in the nation’s politics was because the late Dr. Braithwaite gave all his life to the betterment of the lives of the masses, adding that on several occasions he had stood for and defended the rights of the common man while he had used the instrumentality of law to free Nigerians from oppressive rule and abuse of powers.
His words: “as a legal luminary of octopoidal stature, Dr. Braithwaite’s imprints on the legal profession are not only impressive but will continue to receive accolades even from the generations yet unborn. His legal engagements in the defence of human rights, democratic norms and practice and the general advancement of frontiers of knowledge through his cerebral work entitled the jurisprudence of the living Oracles among other intellectual pursuits, will remain with us and remain relevant in addressing various challenges in our democratic experience”.
As a genuine democrat, the governor recalled that despite securing a handful of just 271,000 votes during the 1983 presidential election in which he contested the presidency under the defunct National Advance Party (NAP), the Late Dr. Braithwaite never gave up on the common man.
Rather than being disappointed for being rejected at the polls by the same masses he had hoped to use the instrument of government to better their lots, the governor said that Dr Braithwaite only concluded that his rejection by the masses at the polls was necessitated by the power that be which foisted political ignorance and economic exploitation on the people, hence, the inability of the citizens to appreciate his efforts with their overwhelming votes. Despite the loss, Ambode noted that Dr. Braithwaite was at the forefront of emancipation of the Nigerian people through out his life time.
The governor who promised that his administration would continue to keep hope alive on the ideals of good governance through the implementation of people-oriented programme noted that his government would from time to time immortalise heroes of democracy and all those that have contributed to the growth of good governance in the state.
The governor stated also that his bust would soon be commissioned at the park so that the memory of his great contributions to politics and struggle for a better Nigeria will linger for ever in our memory.